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9 Ways to Crush Workouts Forever

The training, nutrition and lifestyle strategies to keep you at your peak performance for every workout.

Life Management

7. Get some sleep

If you want to perform at your best you need to recover from the stresses of both your training and your life, and that isn’t going to happen without proper rest. While you sleep, your body increases its production of growth hormone (GH) and testosterone which are vital to muscle repair and aid in fat loss. Adequate sleep also reduces the levels of cortisol (a catabolic hormone) in the body that is known to decrease muscle, and promote fat storage. 6-8 hours of sleep also has an effect on your insulin sensitivity. The less sleep you get, the more likely your body is to store energy as fat and not use glucose to aid in muscle building/repair. The most important factor related to sleep and recovery is its ability to recharge the central nervous system to maintain workout intensity and longevity.

8. Organize your training

"Periodization" is a fancy word used by fitness professionals that buzzes around gyms, essentially all it means is organization. Plan your training out intelligently so that it facilitates proper recovery. Wave your volume (total work done) and intensity (level of effort required). You can’t go hard all the time, and the harder you go the less you should be doing. In general, volume and intensity share an inverse relationship. The higher the volume : the lower the intensity; the higher the intensity : the lower the volume. Make sure you wave the total volume in your training to include weeks of high, moderate–to-high, moderate and low volume. Additionally, make sure the intensity matches the assigned volume. Organize a training split that makes sense. Depending on your desired outcome, training can be split many different ways. The important part is that you allow for recovery of different muscle groups and don’t over use certain movement patterns. Think about how many days per week you will be training. If you train the lower body one day, allow at least 48 hours of recovery before intensely training the lower body again. If you do mostly upper body pushing patterns in your first upper body day, make sure the second upper body day is primarily upper body pulls.

9. Observe and adjust

Having a solid plan or program is great and you should probably have one you're working from. It's a wise decision to adjust the plan to meet how you’re feeling, so listen to your body. If you didn’t sleep the night before, celebrated a promotion a little too hard, or haven’t ate all day, don’t push it as hard as usual. Pay attention to how the weights feel, how fast they are moving and how long it’s taking you to recover. Learn to take advantage of the days you feel great, and backing off when it’s just not there. Optimize your training by scheduling it out to hit your most taxing training when you feel the best.

 

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